Go to the New York State Department of State's website where you'll be able to do a search for the names of businesses that have filed in NY. If the name is not there, you'll be able to form the entity in NY. DBAs are filed with the county.
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While Mr. Carey is correct in that you can search the department of state, division of corporations website's database to see if an entity with your name exists, I just want to stress that not finding a match for your name when performing such a search does not guarantee it is available/distinguishable from all existing names, or that it will be approved.
To get a more concrete answer, submit a written inquiry to the department per the following instructions:
"The records of the Division of Corporations may be searched for availability of name by submitting a written request to the Department of State, Division of Corporations, One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12231. The written inquiry should state that you wish to determine the availability of a name and list the name or names to be searched.
Although it is not required, it is recommended that a copy of the name availability response be attached to the document you are submitting for filing.
A finding that the name is available is not an approval of the name by the Department of State and is not a determination that the proposed name satisfies any particular requirement of law. No expenditure or other commitment should be made in reliance upon the availability of a name.
Pursuant to Section 96 of the New York State Executive Law, the fee for searching the records for availability of name is $5 per name submitted. Please note that the Department's determination regarding the availability of a name applies only to the date and time that the name search was completed. Requests for name availability cannot be handled by telephone."
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